Letters to the Editor for March 28, 2012

Coal trains not worth it, honors overdue, more...

Coal trains

not worth it

Areas of concern with coal are its extraction, transport and burning. Coal trains coming throughout the Gorge would come from the Powder River Basin, the largest coal producing area in the U.S. It produces 400 million tons annually, 40 percent of the U.S. total.

The Basin coal is used for power production; other types are used for coking or metallurgical.

Burning coal leads to smog, soot and acid rain, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Health effects include asthma and other respiratory diseases, especially in children. www.ecomall.com/greenshop-ping/cleanair.htm claims coal fired pollution shortens lives of 30,000 people per year in the U.S. Coal burning releases mercury, harmful to salmon; not to mention its movement up the food chain to humans.

During transport dust blows from rail cars, sometimes causing derailments. It's alleged that dust buildup can prevent water from draining from track beds, which can push rails out of gauge and cause derailments. In the Gorge it would stop rail traffic until cleaned up, and possibly contaminate the river and riparian areas.

Shipping coal through the Gorge isn't compatible with tourism. There are effects from noise and air pollution, coal dust on the track and the increased danger of derailment.

Why should we degrade the environment of the Gorge just to allow shippers and miners to make money shipping it overseas? The shipment of coal will produce virtually no jobs for our citizens, nor benefit tourism or agriculture.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Honors overdue

Taylor Tomita and Sab Akiyama were great men and still are. They served their country proudly while their country turned on them and their families.

It is a shame it took our country so long to honor these two men, the others from Hood River County listed in your article, and the rest of the Japanese Americans who served the United States during a very dark and troubling era of our history.

The 442nd Infantry Regiment suffered one of the highest casualty records during World War II. A testament to the bravery these soldiers and their comrades who did not come home showed.

I know these two gentlemen and many of the others listed in your article. I was raised with many of their children and grandchildren. I can honestly say, without hesitation, they are some of the best citizens this valley can claim as their own.

It is sad this recognition did not occur much sooner. Many of those who served this great country are not around now to receive their well-deserved medal.

I would like to personally thank Taylor Tomita and Sab Akiyama for serving our country. May you enjoy your Congressional Gold Medal for many years to come.

Daryn Fogle

Hood River

John Sewell

for DA

I am writing this letter in support of Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell. I have worked in law enforcement for 12 years, six of which were spent with the City of Hood River. When I was working as a detective in Hood River, I had the opportunity to get to know John Sewell on a professional, as well as on a personal level.

He is someone I have great admiration and respect for, as he has been unwavering in his commitment to this community, working here for the past 28 years. He was always ethical, fair and compassionate in his dealings with crime victims and their families. He is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in, or to make tough decisions, even when it is not the most popular choice.

Having worked for other agencies and worked with other DA's offices, John Sewell stands out amongst the best. He was always available when I had any questions and was always happy to help me talk through a situation when I needed it. That level of involvement is important, and it's not something you find everywhere. His knowledge and experience are invaluable.

John Sewell is a career prosecutor, and there is something to be said for that. He has made his career out of upholding the law, and protecting the diverse citizens of this community.

John Sewell is an asset to Hood River County. I urge you to join me in voting to re-elect John Sewell for Hood River County District Attorney.

Pete Read

Portland

Vote English

for sheriff

The Hood River County Sheriff's election is about two months away. We feel it is important to voice an opinion regarding this important race.

Although there are multiple experienced candidates, it is our opinion that Matt English is the best choice for our community. We have known Matt and his family for over 10 years. He is honest, loyal and committed to his community. He is a role model and a natural leader.

Matt has the capacity to build on the accomplishments of the current sheriff, Joe Wampler, who also endorses Matt.

Matt is an engaged community member, volunteering within the schools and for community education programs. He is an experienced member of the law enforcement community who played a pivotal role in the apprehension and resolution of many high profile cases. He is well-regarded by his peers, who have actively supported and encouraged Matt in his campaign for office.

We hope you will take the time to carefully consider your options this spring, if the opportunity presents itself, to meet Matt. We believe he will be a long-term, consistent and stabile sheriff for Hood River County who will continue to guide the department toward public safety and accountability. Thank you for your time.

John and Deirdre Kasberger

Hood River

Another vote for English

I have known Matt English for several years through his employment with Hood River County. During this time Matt has shown time and time again that he is a dedicated and hardworking employee. Not only while he is on-duty, but in his off-duty time as well.

Matt has been involved in many different activities helping the sheriff's office progress forward and because of this he has become a respected member of our organization and a go-to person.

The qualities that I most appreciate in Matt are his ability to acquire, retain, organize and recall information, his dedication in following projects through to the end, as well as his calm and professional attitude in stressful situations. Also, Matt is a natural leader, taking on and initiating projects and responsibilities in an effort to make our department more efficient and current with the times.

I believe that Matt has proven his dedication, reliability and desire to make this community a better place, so please join me in voting for Matt English for Sheriff. He is the best choice for the continued improvement and forward movement of Hood River County.

Erica Stolhand

Hood River

Vote for

John Sewell

I have worked for John Sewell for close to nine years in the District Attorney's office. During this time I have seen John work tirelessly for the good of his community. John and his wife, Elese, have been active members of the community for 28 years and John cares about what happens here.

Most of you are aware of budget cuts that have befallen state and county government in recent years but are you aware of how difficult it has been to keep programs afloat that serve the people of Hood River County every day? John has been instrumental in retaining programs such as the child abuse prosecutor, the crime victim's assistance program and Drug Court. John has worked behind the scenes to assure that these valuable community programs remain intact.

It is easy to state in a political forum what you pledge to do for the community. It is another thing entirely to follow through when there is little or no money to do so. It takes a dedicated and experienced leader to understand what needs to be done when creatively pursuing funding sources.

The district attorney's office has experienced a decreased budget along with an increased caseload and increased reporting requirements to satisfy funding sources. John never stops working to improve productivity and encourages his staff to "work smarter" to keep abreast of increasing demands on our time and resources. This is the kind of leadership Hood River needs for their elected District Attorney.

John has the experience, sense of community and desire to continue protecting his neighbors, the people of Hood River. For these reasons I strongly urge you to vote to retain John Sewell as your District Attorney.

Janet Haney

North Bonneville, Wash.

Another idea

I have to agree with one half of Ms. Blaine's March 24 letter. Many middle and high school students do seem to present with memory impairment, poor decision-making, lack of enthusiasm, difficulty focusing, moodiness and a number of other behaviors which are detrimental to their education and general ability to interact appropriately with others.

For over 100 years students have gotten up early, done chores before school and even walked at least a mile for a full day of learning. What is different now, you may ask?

How about every child over the age of 10 having a cellphone on from the moment they wake up to past the time they fall asleep? We are turning our children and our culture into an extremely dysfunctional one with these "essential" tools of survival.

Our sixth-grader receives text messages long after an appropriate time on school nights and past midnight on the weekends. Of course we force him to turn the phone off so we don't have to hear it. Obviously someone's child has permission to stay up and text "SUP" or "YRU mad at me?" at midnight.

If school-aged children were not given the responsibility to make decisions about what time to go to bed and how late they stay up to text inane one-liners to their BFFs, maybe more people would get appropriate levels of sleep.

Maybe then teachers would not be so exhausted from having to play babysitter and entertainer to kids too tired to care.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Canadians

like system

The Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, aka "ObamaCare," contains very significant improvements at slightly lower cost (nonpartisan CBO). However, that lower cost still may be unsustainable. Is single-payer the answer?

The Canadian single-payer health care system costs only 60 percent of the present U.S. system, with better results (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.). And despite misleading ads by U.S. insurance companies, e.g. implying that one dissatisfied Canadian speaks for all, the Canadian system is also very popular.

The evidence? First, when May 2011 elections gave Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper a conservative majority in Parliament so he could pass any conservative legislation he wanted, he quickly assured Canadians he wouldn't change the single-payer system.

Second, Tommy Douglas, Baptist minister who introduced the single-payer system in the 1960s, was accordingly voted greatest Canadian of all time in a 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation survey.

Toronto University researchers said the U.S. could save $27.6 billion yearly by adopting Canada's single-payer system (National Journal, Aug. 4, 2011). Doctors' time and money dealing with multiple insurance companies would be reduced.

A 2008 survey showed 59 percent of U.S. doctors prefer such a system, up from 49 percent in 2002 (Reuters, March 31, 2008).

Norm Luther

Underwood, Wash

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